Fintech Startup Fast Changes How and Where Customers Shop
Consumer spending online is growing exponentially. In 2021, retail e-commerce sales are projected to total $4.9 trillion globally, an increase of more than $600 billion from 2020.
And it’s easy to understand why: Consumers want a fast and seamless purchasing experience that doesn’t interrupt their daily lives. E-commerce giant Amazon capitalized on that demand by pioneering one-click payments. But since Amazon’s patent on the revolutionary payment feature expired in 2017, fintech startups have pushed to bring that magic to the rest of the internet, as millions of merchants don’t have the checkout option.
One example is Fast Checkout, a one-click checkout button from the fintech startup Fast. The company’s payment button processes orders in seconds and, in the two-and-a-half years it’s been around, the company has secured $124.5 million in funding.
Fast’s founding and mission
Fast Co-Founder and CEO Domm Holland was inspired to launch the company when his son was in the hospital. His wife’s grandmother, who was pitching in, struggled to order groceries online for the family.
“It was too difficult, so I set out to solve that problem,” he said. “When we talk about frictionless checkout, the concept behind it is really to make commerce easier for consumers, whether it’s the 70-year-old lady or the 20-year-old guy in San Francisco.”
Today, Fast employs almost 280 employees and plans to more than double the size of its team by the end of the year. Fast Checkout launched during the Covid-19 pandemic, an event that quickly propelled major changes to all of commerce.
“We had a billion people sheltered in their homes, having to buy everything online,” he said. “There was an entire class of consumers, more mature consumers, suddenly buying groceries online for the first time, and some buying everything online for the first time. It’s a pivotal moment in commerce.”
The litmus test for merchants is increasing their conversion rates, Holland said. That’s hard to do when more than 70% of U.S. consumers add products to their online cart but leave without completing a purchase. Fast solves that problem by placing its checkout button on product detail pages.
“Over half of Fast transactions come from the product page, which is an incredible stat given that 99% of all merchants don’t even have checkout functions on product pages,” Holland said.
One of Fast’s key selling points is order batching.
Typically, if a merchant places a checkout button on each of its product detail pages, they risk selling only one item per order, decreasing average order value and increasing their – and their customers’ – shipping costs. Fast created an order-batching feature that allows shoppers to make multiple purchases within minutes of each other and receive them at the same time.
“You can click ‘Fast Checkout’ on the product page and when it says, ‘Order Complete,’ leave the site and then that product will come to your house,” Holland said. “Or, you can keep browsing, click ‘Fast Checkout’ on a second product, and it will say ‘Order Complete,’ but both products will come in the same box. The merchant only has one order to fulfill, but it now has two products instead of one. That merchant’s average order value is increased; they use one box and one payment fee.”
“So we avoid the problems that other checkout buttons encounter on the product page, and consumers have a frictionless checkout experience, which is one click from the point they’re looking at the product they want to buy. Fundamentally, order batching has been core to almost all of our growth to date as a business.”
Fast’s second differentiating feature, headless checkout, allows the Fast Checkout button to live anywhere – inside email copy, product reviews, publishers’ websites, blog posts, and in the real world via QR codes.
“We’re exposing checkout to everybody who looks at a product, not just the 5% or 10% of people who actually click ‘Add to Cart,’” Holland said. “It’s 100% of the people. There could be a review in GQ about a new men’s grooming product, and they can click ‘Fast Checkout’ from the review to buy the product. Why send them away to a secondary site and then make more clicks to buy? They can just enable checkout frictionlessly from that source. By doing this, we turn every marketing channel into a transaction channel. For a large enterprise, this is absolutely key because affiliates are a big source of revenue for them.”
Others have increased conversions thanks to the technology. Ski Haus | Patio Place, an outdoor and snow sports business that shifts into an outdoor furniture operation in spring and summer, increased conversions 174% after adding the Fast Checkout button to its site. Saddleback Leather, an online leather goods retailer, increased conversions 65% after installing Fast days before Thanksgiving 2020.
In addition to checkout, Fast also offers order tracking for shoppers and free chargeback protection for merchants. Headless checkout represents one of the biggest changes in e-commerce, Holland said.
“There’s an amalgamation of content and commerce happening now,” Holland said. “Every major publishing portal, social media, and content creation platform is trying to incorporate shopping capabilities that keep users on their screen and generate revenue from a captive audience.”
But these platforms typically don’t have the tools to embed checkout into those portals, he added. By pushing forward with headless checkout, Fast aims to solve that problem.
“It’s an absolutely huge demand from the creator and social network level, content portals, and also at the brand and merchant level to natively connect content and commerce,” Holland said. “That is the largest and most transformative shift happening in commerce right now.”
Charles Daly is a freelance writer currently working out of Ireland.